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Saturday, August 24, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Shrubs

​​​Without doubt, macrophylla hydrangeas are very high on any list of most popular summer & fall shrubs in the Pacific Northwest.  Here we offer conditions ideal to keep them in beauty: abundant rainfall in the growing season, acid  soil to keep them the most exquisite blue, with variations possible through treatment, up to and including deepest pink and even variations of colour on the same shrub. Our long falls allow us to enjoy the variation of colour in the flowers as they age. Last, but not least, our mild winters allow us to give them the pruning they like best: having their dried flowers left on all winter, then each sturdy stem cut back to the nearest set of buds.


Not surprisingly, people gardening in colder climates covet hydrangeas for all their manifold beauties, but find it very difficult to provide the conditions they need, a particular difficulty being allowing the stems to stand all winter.  Aware of this demand, breeders have turned their minds to ways to address these difficulties and recent years have seen a number of new strains of macrophylla hydrangeas come onto the market, each addressing the problem in different ways.  While this has expanded opportunities for eastern gardeners it has also greatly enlarged the situations in which we here can grow this wonderful plant.

Perhaps the most exciting is the CityLine strain of hydrangeas.  Blooming, like all macrophyllas on OLD wood, they have been bred to stay very compact: 12-36" wide and tall (for us, undoubtedly closer to the high end).  For gardeners in colder climes, this means they are more easy to protect over the winter (where the plants will likely be smaller).  For us, they still offer a lot for today's smaller gardens and are especially well suited to containers.
 

Cityline Hydrangea Comparison

Variety
Name
Bloom
Desc.
Colour
(Acidic)
Colour
(Alkaline)
Size Blooms On
'Berlin' Lovely flowers with white centres Blue Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
'Mars' Flowers are white edged violet Violet Deep Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
'Paris' Reddest of the line, requires aluminum to turn blue Blue Vivid Red 1-2 ft x 2-3 ft Old Wood
'Rio' Early flowering     Strong Blue Purple 2-3 ft Old Wood
'Venice' Flowers green with age Blue Hot Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
'Vienna' Traditional macrophylla flowers Violet - Blue Pink 1-3 ft Old Wood
Find out more about thie Cityline series on Proven WInner's Website.


Another wonderful line is the Seaside Serenade group, also bred to remain relatively compact.  Named for various sites on the east coast of New England, they are spectacular shrubs with bicolour flowers, and extra thick stems. Additionally, they have been bred to provide interesting fall colour.  They too bloom mostly on OLD wood, although some form new shoots on that wood in the season, which produce more flowers, though smaller.  In colder climates, this means that if the original wood is partly lost to winter, there will still be some flowers.  Here in the lower mainland, we get a first wonderful flush and then a continuation of fresh coloured flowers through the fall.
 

Seaside Serendae Hydrangea Comparison

Variety
Name
Bloom
Desc.
Colour
(Acidic)
Colour
(Alkaline)
Size Blooms On
'Cape Cod' Each floret has white centre Blue Pink 4 ft Old & New Wood
'Cape Lookout' Colour changer, huge blooms, great fall foliage Green→ White→ Pink Same 3.5 x 3 ft Old Wood
'Cape May' Only lacecap (serrata hybrid) of group Blue Pink 2-4 ft Old Wood
'Fire Island' Flowers are white edged with main colour Deep Blue Deep Pink 3.5 ft Old Wood
'Hamptons' Two-toned flowers of distinctive colour Intense Blue Intense Pink 3 x 3.5 ft Old Wood
Find out more about the Seaside Seranade series on Monrovia's Website.



Finally, there is the Endless Summer group, which name has unfortunately given rise to  a myth: that they flower entirely on new wood (like the smooth leaf or Annabelle varieties) and thus can be cut right back, like an Annabelle hydrangea. This is unfortunately not the case.  These hydrangeas (like Seaside Serenade) send out new shoots, which do bloom later in the season. But they form these shoots on OLD wood, the first and largest blooms still arise from the tops of wood formed the previous season. In colder climates, gardeners are advised to mulch them over the winter to preserve that old wood. It obviously takes a lot out of a plant to keep churning out new growth, so increased nourishment is likely to be required as well as intelligent pruning.  
 

Endless Summer Hydrangea Comparison

Variety
Name
Bloom
​​​​​​​Desc.
Colour
(Acidic)
Colour
(Alkaline)
Size Blooms On
'Bloomstruck' Glossy leaves; does bloom on new shoots Violet - Blue Rose - Pink 3-4 x 4-5 ft Old & New Wood
'Blushing Bride' Soft colours White→ Soft Blue Same 3-6 ft Old & New Wood
'Endless Summer' First to introduce this tendency Blue Pink 3-4x 4-5 ft Old & New Wood
'Summer Crush' Intense colour Violet - Blue Raspberry 1.5-3 ft Old & New Wood
'Twist & Shout' Lacecap with vivid red, sturdy stems Periwinkle Blue Deep Pink 3-5 ft Old & New Wood

Find out more about the Endless Summer series on the Endless Summer Website.

With so many varieties to choose from, here in the Pacific Northwest we can find a hydrangea for any situation and any taste.  





Friday, May 20, 2016
Posted By: Suvan Breen in Shrubs

 

Oh the fabulous hydrangea! Of all the flowering shrubs this one has always been a show stopper but in 2016 this is not just your grandmas pink or blue hydrangea anymore.

Blue Hydrangea Flowers

I am not sure what I am more excited about, the ever blooming varieties that just go all summer or the new multi coloured flowers that change colour over their bloom time, Hydrangeas are blowing me away right now.

There are so many new varieties and colours that will make you stop in your tracks, come on into the nursery to see what we have for you.

As you may have guessed from their name, Hydrangeas love water, plant in a moist but well drained space, spring is a great time for planting, water the roots deep down to help them to establish in the garden. Once again I highly recommend soaker hoses if you do not have irrigation, this is a great way to reduce your water bill and still deep water your plants.

 

Having said that there are certain things to know about the Hydrangeas we love. Here are the top Hydrangea questions I have had over the years.

Hydrangea Types

Are There Different Types of Hydrangeas?

Yes, there are several types of Hydrangeas with flower colours ranging from white to shades of pink to blue. The classic variety is called Hydrangea macrophylla and can have either the big Mophead type flower or a flattened lacecap-like bloom. Lace cap varieties are great for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. The Mountain Hydrangea, or Hydrangea serrata typically has a white lacecap-like flower. Pannicle Hydrangeas, or Hydrangea paniculata has large white to creamy white flowers in conical shapes. Hydrangea arborescens or Smooth Hydrangeas typically have large white blooms. Finally, the Oakleaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia has attractive white flowers but also offers stunning fall foliage colour.

Endless Summer Hydrangeas

What Is An Endless Summer Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas bloom on old wood. In recent years, plant breeders have introduced new varieties that bloom on both new and old wood. They are often called “ReBloomers”. The end result is a plant the produces more flowers and blooms for longer through the season. It also makes them less vulnerable to late winter, flower bud damaging frosts. Endless Summer was the first of the group but new ones like Twist and Shout, Let's Dance Moonlight and Blushing Bride are also available. More information is available on the Endless Summer Hydrangea Website

Should I Fertilize My Hydrangea?

In most cases, yes. For established plants, feed your plant a fertilizer with a high middle number in early spring just as new growth begins. This will create larger and bigger flowers. For new plants, apply a Bonemeal into the planting hole or use a liquid transplant fertilizer when you water.

Changing Hydrangea Flower Colour

How Do I Change The Colour of My Hydrangea?

Hydrangeas react to the availability of aluminum in your soil. If you want pink flowers, add lime to your soil once a year, the lime blocks the plant from absorbing aluminum. Looking for blue flowers? Add Aluminum Sulphate in water and water the soil around your Hydrangea. Be patient, this process will take 2-3 seasons to achieve the colour switch. White flowering types do not change colour.

Where Can I Plant My Hydrangea?

Most Hydrangeas want morning sun and afternoon shade, with the exception of Peegees which benefit from full sun. Late afternoon sun is too strong for many Hydrangeas and can burn both the leaves and flowers. Full shade may result in a lack of blooms, make sure your hydrangea gets at least 4 hours of morning light to grow strong. A location with part sun to part shade is ideal.

Pink Hydrangea Blooms

Why Is My Hydrangea Not Blooming?

Back away from the pruners! The most common reason for no blooms is over pruning or pruning at the wrong time of year. Some Hydrangeas bloom on new growth and some bloom on old growth, if your Hydrangea is not blooming, you may have pruned the flower buds. Hydrangeas really do not require a great deal of pruning but if you are pruning there are guidelines depending on the variety you choose. Deadhead your Hydrangea to encourage repeat blooming.

Another common cause of poor blooms is an early spring cold snap. As many varieties bloom on old wood, a late frost can damage the flower buds.

Your Hydrangea will also produce more and better blooms with a yearly application of fertilizer with a higher middle number

Hydrangea Cityline Rio

How Do I Prune My Hydrangea?

The correct method to prune Hydrangeas depends on which type you have.

ReBlooming Varieties

The Hydrangeas require very little pruning and will keep you in blooms all season long. You should only prune to remove dead wood.

Hydrangeas That Bloom On Old Wood

These shrubs should only be pruned to remove dead wood or to manage size. As they bloom on old wood, a severe pruning can remove next years flower buds. If you must prune, do so after flowering. Hydrangeas that bloom on old wood include:

  • Big Leaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Mountain Hydrangea - Hydrangea serrata
  • Oakleaf Hydrangea - Hydrangea quercifolia

Hydrangeas That Bloom On New Wood

For these varieties, prune in late winter or early spring. Varieties blooming on new wood include:

  • Pannicle Hydrangea- Hydrangea paniculata
  • Smooth Hydrangea - Hydrangea arboresens

If you have any other questions about hydrangeas, please feel free to drop by Arts Nursery and ask! We'd be happy to help!


Friday, May 15, 2015
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Shade Gardening

If we had a dollar everytime someone asked, I have a shady spot, what can I plant?, we would be living in the lap of luxury. Contrary to popular belief, there are actually dozens, if not hundreds of plants that prefer the shade. One of the most common is the Hydrangea. Famous for their blue, pink or white, mophead or lacecap flowers, they are an excellent option for those of you blessed with shade. Here are 6 new or unique Hydrangea varieties to tempt you this Spring!

Lets Dance Starlight Bigleaf Hydrangea

Let's Dance Starlight Bigleaf Hydrangea

This is the first, re-blooming lacecap hydrangea. Starlight has elegant summer flowers held upright on strong stems. Blooms every year. Prefers to be grown in part shade / part sun in moist, but well drained soils. The soil and pH affects bloom colour. Acidic soils produce blue flowers, alkaline soils create pink flowers. Prune after flowering. Grows to a height and spread of 2-3ft. Hardy to zone 6.

Blue Enchantress Hydrangea

Blue Enchantress Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Monmar’

Blue Enchantress is an exquisite, new, re-blooming hydrangea with stately ruby-black stems supporting big, beautiful, mophead hydrangea flowers. Blooming continuously through summer, the flowers are blue in acidic soils and pink in more alkaline ones. Flowers age to a vintage cream-splashed green. Prized for cut or dried flower arrangements. A perfect plant for a dappled shade border. Best grown in part shade and moist, but well drained soils. Needs regular watering. Will grow 3-5ft tall and wide. Hardy to Zone 6.

Sweet and Salsa Showstopper Hydrangea

Sweet and Salsa Showstopper Hydrangea

Hydrangea 'Sweet and Salsa'

This exciting new Hydrangea from the HGTV Home Collection features bicolor red and white flowers with shades of pink that appear in late spring into late Summer. Foliage is equally attractive in shades of green and burgundy red-bronze. Bloom colour changes depending on soil pH. Best when planted in part shade or in areas that have cool afternoons. To preserve the flower heads, cut long stems and hang upside down in a cool, dry dark area and soon after, you’ll have created ever-lasting flowers! Grows 2-3ft high and 3-5ft wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Endless Summer Hydrangea

Endless Summer Hydrangea

‘Endless Summer’ is the original repeat blooming Hydrangea. It has been around for a couple of years now, but is still an awesome variety. Most older hydrangeas flower on old wood (stems that grew last year). This variety flowers on both old and new wood, giving it the ability to bloom more often and more profusely. Flower colour changes according to soil pH and blooms in late spring through late Summer. Best grown in full to part shade and moist, but well drained soil. For best results, keep soil evenly moist and fertilize with a slow release plant food in spring or early summer before blooms appear. Grows to 3-6ft high and wide. As it is a continuous bloomer, prune this one differently. Do not prune in the fall. Instead, wait until Spring when the plant has started to grow. Prune the branches above the new green growth.

Red n Pretty Hydrangea

Hydrangea ‘Red n Pretty’

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Monred'

‘Red n Pretty’ Hydrangea is a superb shrub for accent, specimen or border use in semi-shaded areas. Desired for the splendid, abundant, showy flower clusters in shades of red appear in Summer. Handsome foliage on boldly branched, rounded form. Deciduous. Best grown in part sun / part shade and moist, but well drained soils. Needs regular watering, more often in extreme heat. A moderate grower from 4-6ft tall and 3-4ft wide. Hardy to zone 6.

Plum Passion Hydrangea

Plum Passion Hydrangea

Hydrangea aspera ‘Plum Passion’

‘Plum Passion’ is the first every purple leaved Hydrangea to grace North American gardens. Discovered in China, this unique shrub was brought to Monrovia by famed plant explorer Dan Hinkley. Foliage emerges greenish-purple aging to deep purple on the upper side of the leaf and rosy purple on the underside. Wispy, mid-sized, summer blooming, lace-cap type flowers are somewhat insignificant in contrast with the dramatic, colourful foliage. Excellent fall colour too! Deciduous. Like all Hydrangeas is does best in shade to part shade in moist, but well drained soils. Reaches 5-6ft tall and wide. Hardy to zone 7.

How to Grow Hydrangeas

Hydranges are fairly low maintenance, easy to grow deciduous shrubs. Find a shade to part shade location with moist, but well drained soil. Dig the hole, situate the plant and apply a Transplant fertilizer or Bonemeal. Be aware that if you use bonemeal, you may actually be turning the flower colour pink as explained in the next section. Water frequently, but avoid over-watering. Yellowing leaves may be an indicator of over-watering. Fertilize with an all-purpose fertilizer in early spring before flowers appear. If required, prune after flowering on most varieties. On reblooming or endless summer varieties, wait to prune until spring.

How to Change the Colour of Your Hydrangea Flowers

How to change the colour of your hydrangeas flowers is a very commonly asked question. White flowered varieties will not change colour.  Only Blue or Pink flowering varieties are affected. Hydrangea flowers change their colour overtime based on the soil acidity and presence of Aluminum Sulphate in the soil. In acidic soils,(a pH less than 7), Hydrangea take in Aluminum and their flower colour becomes bluish. In alkaline or sweet soils (pH greater than 7), the ability to bring in Aluminum Sulphate is curtailed and the flower colour changes to pink. This transition is gradual and can take a year or more to complete. To turn your flower colour blue, simply purchase and Acidifying fertilizer and/or Aluminum Sulphate (both available at Art's Nursery) and apply in early spring. To change your flower colour to pink, add lime.

For more information about Hydrangeas, visit us in person at Art's Nursery, or give us a call at 604.882.1201. As always, our selection and availability is always changing. If you are making a special trip, please call ahead to confirm availability.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

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